Happy Valentine’s Day, Governor!

Today, over a thousand Kentuckians concerned about the future of our state’s environment, livelihood, culture, and people gathered on the steps of the capitol, capping off a weekend of protest that involved a handful of our local celebrities, including the more widely known Mr. Berry. This colorful group of folks carried signs, chanted chants, played music, hollered, swore a little bit, smiled a lot, passed around petitions, signed Valentine’s Day cards for the governor, and, well, supported a cause they believed in.

The “I Love Mountains” rally occurs every year about this time, around Valentine’s Day, when Congress is in session, as a way to push for clean-energy legislation and, at the same time, end mountain top removal.

I’d never been to a rally like this before, and though I’ll refrain from getting political, let me just say this:

It was pretty darn awesome.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand how complicated of a situation we find ourselves in. I know there are no easy solutions, and many of the folks I listened to today are not fair and balanced in their reporting.

But still.

Being surrounded by a group of passionate yet peaceful folks, who may be hollering but are hollering together, it was a great place to be. Old folks and young folks. Wheelchair-bound and stroller-bound. Dogs and guitars. Hippies and coal-miners. Hand-made signs and signs snazzy enough to have been used in presidential campaign. (If you’ve not read the slogans before, you might enjoy “topless mountains are obscene,” one of my favorites.)

This was a big crazy mob, and it was community.

I even got myself a new bumper sticker.

A common bumper sticker around here is “Friends of Coal.” I like this better.

Check out I Love Mountains or Mountain Justice for more information about ending mountain top removal, learning more about the process, and tracing your home’s power back to its source.

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Truth with a Capital T

You may have seen the viral short video made to accompany the commencement speech given by the very talented late David Foster Wallace in 2005 at Kenyon College. (If Googling this speech, be aware that it has been removed from many sites due to copyright issues and may now be hard to find).

In his speech, Wallace describes a higher education graduate, now working at a challenging job in a large city, who is now officially a part of the rat race, whose principal challenge is not so much the exhaustion of a demanding job, but the tedium of daily existence.

(I’ll qualify here by inserting that I live in a very small town and am a homeschooling stay-at-home mom of three young children, so my daily struggles with finding meaning in tedium look different than those described in Foster’s speech; but nevertheless, I can relate to the frustration of monotony and seemingly small, though necessary, tasks.)

In the slow and maddening check-out line at the store after a long day of work, our graduate is surrounded by overwhelmingly annoying people talking loudly on cell phones, staring into space, screaming at their kids. The way to wake up and arrive at a better existence, Wallace tells us, is just this: to reject our “natural default setting” that the whole world and everything that happens is about us, that we are the center of the world.

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